Feelings and fish

Posted: November 29, 2016

By Julian Calderara.

BBC Radio 4 today announced the disturbing news that new research has shown that our cold-blooded cousins have feelings, recognise one another and have memories that last for at least 40 days…

(I am not talking about the French, dominated EU Brexit negotiators, but fish.)

The journalist made the usual error in questioning the science: assuming that feelings correlate with intelligence: the terrible human conceit that because we think we feel.

But this finding about fish is just the latest in a very long line of research that proves that all creatures feel, first.

The humblest cellular creatures – even the single-celled paramecium (a single cell rules out having a brain) feels its way out of danger.

We need to start embracing that feelings are not only universal but they take the lead in nearly all decision making.

We feel first and then (if we’re human) post-rationalise.

That may be a uniquely human trait.